ôEach of us must become an apostle.ö A talk with Archimandrite Theologos (Chrysantakopoulos), a missionary to the Congo
ŚA missionary should first of all witness the good tidings of the gospel as it has been preserved by the Orthodox Church over the centuriesŚwithout change, without additions, without omissions.
We must by no means ever look down upon people as if from the heights, disdaining their interests, or belittling their beliefs.
ŚAfricans are more direct and sincere; they are truly often just like children. It is easier to relate to them and initiate contact, because they are not so corrupted by attachment to material goods and comforts as Europeans are. On the other hand, they are more on the surface; it is harder to “get deeper” with them. It is enough for many of them to know only the rudiments of the faith, while studying patristic literature does not seem all that important to them.
As for their seriousnessů People are all different. There are those who do not remain long in the Church, who leave almost right after baptism. But then there are others who not only remain, but bring their entire families into the Church. There are parishioners who have been in the Church from the time of the first communityŚthat is, since the 1980s.
ŚNo long ago, during a visit by His Holiness Patriarch Theodoros of Alexandria and All Africa, a men’s monastery was consecrated in Dolisie (the third most important city in the Republic of Congo), dedicated to St. John the Theologian. At the moment there are only four novices, and if it be God’s will, they will be tonsured as monks.
The Orthodox Church cannot exist without monasteries; monks are a light to the world. On the other hand, Africans do also have an inclination for monasticism, and that is why it was decided to establish a monastery there.
The main problem in Orthodoxy today is a dearth of worthy examples. It is not enough to merely enlightenŚone must also show how to live according to the Gospels, what is the Orthodox Church, and Orthodox community.
How do we war with thisŚor rather, how do we heal it? It is very simple and yet very difficult for each and every one of us to be a good example.
Orthodox Congolese.Our Church is Apostolic, and that means that each of us must become an apostle, bring the Good Tidings, as our Lord tells us: Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you (Mt. 28:19ľ20).
At the present time, many Orthodox churches, chapels, and hospitals are being built in the Congo. You can help in the construction of the church of St. Photini and the chapel of St. Luke:
EGLISE ORTHODOXE DU CONGO
10 / 12 / 2012
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